The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life provides a portal into their data on all questions of religion and politics in the scope of the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Visit the site here.

The most recent analysis breaks down the preference of religious voters for the current crop of GOP candidates. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gov. Mitt Romney enjoys a comfortable lead over all his opponents with Catholic voters, while he barely leads or trails behind others with Evangelical and mainline Protestant voters. Romney appears to be the most centrist top-tier candidate in the field, and Catholic voters in general tend to be more centrist in their voting patterns than Evangelicals. Could this account for these findings?

In a hypothetical matchup against President Obama, Catholic voters slightly prefer Romney over Obama, and if Gov. Rick Perry were the nominee, Catholic voters would go for the President.

See analysis of this poll here

Comments

ed gleason | 11/12/2011 - 1:17pm
As RU486 is passed around in HS hallways and college dorms and is now approaching 50% of all abortions how can we pro-lifers still rely on  law ,penalties and enforcement to deter this easy distribution. . The pro-life needs a newer values system approach because  the law approach has failed for 40 years and will continue to fail.. .Basta.  
Helen Mc Devitt-Smith | 11/10/2011 - 5:06pm
Thomas Rooney:
I have great respect for Democrats for Life. But they have been outspent and out maneuvered by the so-called non-partisan, but really staffed and supported by Republican Catholics, Susan B. Anthony List. During the 2011 mid-term elections, their "targeting' (their word, not mine) pro-life Democrats for being Democrats (i.e., members of the pro-choice party) and/or approving the Health Care Act was shameful.
http://www.sba-list.org/2012pledge
I think that their mission, working within the Democratic Party, will be more effective in changing hearts and minds than many of the pro-life rants and tactics.


Bill Collier | 11/10/2011 - 2:45pm
I'm with Tom Blackburn on his NOA suggestion, and with Thomas Rooney on having "no political home."

I'm thinking third party, and I'm even willing to change my name to Tom if Tom B. and Thomas R. also join. ;)
T BLACKBURN | 11/10/2011 - 12:32pm
"What if I believe the majority of "pro-life" politicians have NO vested interest in bringing an end to abortion, whose interest is to keep the issue alive and inflamed to garner votes, but not solved? "

Oh, Mr. Rooney, that is not a hypothetical. It's the way things are. When I used to be in a position to interview candidates, I always asked the ones who called themselves pro-life who they would prosecute in cases of violations if abortion were illegal again - the doctor or the woman. At least half the time the answer was neither. In other words, they supported an unenforceable law. Or, to put it another way, they checked the Catholic block without thinking about the issue.


Tom Maher | 11/10/2011 - 10:15am
Dave Smith (#6)

As usual you make excellent points, this time about Catholics and polling. 

I agree with you that there is and  has been a very sharp division among Catholics on political opinions on most issues and general politcal affiliiation.  It is hard to tell at any moment what percentage of politcal support from Catholics for a liberal or conservative side of most issues.  But both conservative and liberal camps on most isssues are well represented by Catholics.  

 But poll results to be valid a representative sample of the major subgroups is required.  Otherwise a biased you will likley get a biased poll result.   This is a classic problem with all polling in America where sub-groups with consistantly diffrent oprions are not known and therefore are often not proprerly represented in the polliing sample.  There may be too many or too few of any sub-group thereby biasing the the result for or agaisnt a liberal or conservative view of a sub-group such as politically liberal Catholics or politically conservative Catholics.  

But it seem pretty certain that Catholics have a very high degree of politcal variability. So we do have to be real careful that 16% margins of support may be way less in an actual election.
Crystal Watson | 11/10/2011 - 3:38am
I'm not completely happy with Obama, not because he's too liberal but because he's not  liberal enough on issues like the environment, but to imagine a republican winning is scary  :(
T BLACKBURN | 11/9/2011 - 4:22pm
Neither at the polls, nor in surveys, are we given a chance to vote NOA - for none of the above. This would be useful in figuring out whether an odd-looking low number of voters in one race or initiative on a ballot represents voter intent or voter confusion. (We in Florida had a Senate race decided by a high number of skipped votes in one candidate' home terrority.)
 It also would be useful for Catholics whose eye was caught by the suggestion in the bishops' voting guide that it may be morally necessary to vote for neither candidate sometimes. (Sometimes? What state do the bishops vote in?)
 I don't see anyone to enthuse me on the Pew list. If the election were - counterfactually - held today, it looks like Romney should win. But after his party has gone through Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain in a desperate attempt to find anybody but Romney to head the ticket, can an independent seriously vore for such an unsupported paladin who is likely to be harassed by his party even more than by the Democrats?
Tom Maher | 11/9/2011 - 3:55pm
Pew polling is well respected.  Pew survey data very likely reflects reality.

It is wonderful to see that white mainline Protestants and white Catholics have almost identical preferance for Romney over Obama in an Obama v Romney presidential race.  Both groups perfer Romney by a sixteen point margin at a 56% or 57% level of support 56% versus a 40% or 41% support for Obama.  This result indicates the existance of a strong consensus shared by these two major gourps.  It has been a long while since any kind of consenus had been noted in American politics.   Everyone believes that our politics are hoplessly divided and without common ground.  Hopefully the 2012 election will actually produce a decisive election result around which a new governing consensus can be formed. 

This closeness in results also shows that a majority of Catholics are now part of mainstream America and have a lot in common with significant other groups  of Americans .  This is refreshing to know: most Catholics do not act like outsiders or alienated refugees or "counter-culture" antagonist to American life. and political culture.  It is wonderful that these two very large mainstream religious groups stongly share the same outlook on such an important issues as who should be our next president. 
JIM MCCREA | 11/9/2011 - 2:58pm
For whom should Catholics vote for POTUS?

For the candidate who will be most committedd to the common good:
"The case for freedom is based not upon the absence of any reason for preferring one ideal to another but upon the positive conviction that men have the right and the duty to follow their consciences and to promote the common good.  It is no more likely in politics that it is in the institutional life of the Church that we shall achieve a Christian consensus.  Christians will continue to differ in their political emphasis, and it may be a good thing that this should be so.  But in each case there is an overriding demand for the exercise of charity, not only out of consideration for others but also out of concern for the truth which transcends our best endeavors to define it."
Basis Mitchell, How to Play Theological Ping-Pong:  Essays on Faith and Reason (book), Eerdmans, 1991.

A fixation on single-issue politics is not conducive to promoting the common good.
Robert Dean | 11/9/2011 - 2:53pm
Given the entire range of Catholic teaching vis-a-vis the candidates, whom would you vote for, Mr. Allen?
Kevin Allen | 11/9/2011 - 10:40am
Its amazing that so many fellow Catholic voters will throw their morals out the window to vote for a pro-choice president. I guess for the C&E Catholics moral obligation does end at the Parish entrance.